Pulling the Landline Plug

I barely used the landline phone anymore. The cheap handset was like a childhood friend gone to seed; we no longer had anything in common.

Nine months ago, I’d started saying “I should get rid of my landline.” Everyone agreed it was a good idea.

But I kept putting it off, choosing instead to analyze the problem. I started a log to see how many times I actually received a call from a real live person I wanted to talk to: maybe once a week. And those people could easily be retrained to use my mobile phone. No excuse there.

Still, I procrastinated.

Every time I got an automated call (“This is not a sales call, do NOT hang up”) I would slam the phone down in disgust. Lacking caller ID, I basically stopped answering the thing except during business hours. (I had, after all, given it out as an office number.)

And still I couldn’t bring myself to actually cancel the service. I’d had the same number for sixteen years, after all. It was on my business card. I used it for faxing… even though most people now prefer a PDF attachment. And local calls were free—well, except for that monthly service charge.

Yesterday’s automated call (right before lunch: “This is a very important message”) was the final straw. Before I could overthink or analyze anymore, I picked up the phone (the landline, ironically) and called Verizon. Enough, I said. Cancel my service.

“Would reducing your monthly fee make you change your mind?” I was asked.

“Not unless you reduce it all the way to free.”

Since that wasn’t an option, the service was cancelled. The next time I thought to pick up the handset, the dial tone had disappeared.

This morning, I found myself reaching for an empty spot on the desk where the handset had been, a habit that will take a while to break. In a day or a week or a month, this will all seem like something I should’ve done years ago. And it will certainly be nice to eliminate one bill from the monthly pile on my desk.

But I’m a little sad today.

By the way, does anyone need a perfectly good landline handset? Available free, but only to a good home…